June is for Gratitude

June is my favorite month on the calendar. I get to spend these weeks bringing closure to the work that was done during the school year, working with teams to evaluate our progress and set new goals, and most importantly, celebrating all that has been accomplished and all that I have learned from the incredible (truly they are) teachers and coaches and administrators and students I get to work with throughout the year.

It’s been a monumental month for our family as well, as both of our daughters are “moving up”: Nina starts middle school next year, and Laura is off to high school. There have been more than a few memories made over the last few weeks as we’ve attended all of the requisite assemblies, concerts, field trips, field days, parties, dances, and scheduling meetings. There have been exams to prepare for, projects to finish, summer camps to register for, gifts to purchase, and so so sooooooooooo many thank you letters to write. The most important one was to Nina’s teacher, who I wrote about earlier this year. I can’t tell you how much she has inspired our family over the last ten months. Tragically, her position was one of over seventy cut within our district this year. This is a huge loss for the district and the field as well. As you can imagine, all of this has added a bit of bitter to all of the sweet we’ve been soaking up lately. Know anyone who might benefit from one of the best teachers I’ve ever known? Please let me know, and I’ll pass the word along.

All of this has kept me off the grid quite a bit, and I’m looking forward to dedicating some time over the next several weeks to catching up here and sharing some of what I’ve learned in my work with teachers and kids this year.

I’ve continued to reflect on the implications of my work with Heather Bitka’s kindergarten class, and I still have a few thoughts to share and questions to ask about that. I also have similar narratives to share relevant to my work with Joe Spero,¬† a high school teacher who also teaches in Lockport. I’d also love to share my take-aways from the collegial learning experience that I facilitated at Wellsville High School this year, some new perspectives I’ve gained and processes I’ve helped teachers use to design and articulate curriculum K-12, and some preliminary findings from my first round of work with Common Core Learning Standards inside of a number of schools. I’ve learned a great deal as a literacy coach and a coach to a literacy coach at Depew Union Free School District over the last three years, I’ve been facilitating literacy-based professional development across different content areas¬† in grades 3-12 at Starpoint Central School over the last seven, and a number of schools have begun designing common frameworks and engaging in inquiry relevant to writing instruction. The WNY Young Writers’ Studio continues to evolve as a bustling learning community, and we’ve just entered our busiest season of the year, in anticipation of registration for our week-long summer programs. Much to share about all of that too.

And I wish I had more time to.

I honestly don’t know how those who blog on a daily basis do it, year-in and year-out. If you’re like me and have an RSS feed that is spilling over with incredible updates that these kind of bloggers provide each day, I hope you’ll take a moment to consider how much COURAGE, TIME, EFFORT and SACRIFICE maintaining this sort of consistency requires. Most edubloggers don’t speak to that too often, but I sure will. I know from experience that blogging on a regular basis is demanding work, and those who accomplish this provide such a gift to their readers. I am beginning to doubt my ability to ever be one of those kinds of bloggers, despite my valiant efforts over the last few years, but I’m happy to bask in the glow of the pros and drop by this space as often as I can to give back in whatever small way that I can.

In the mean time, today is Laura’s very last day of middle school. If history repeats itself, she’ll tumble through the front door in about an hour with an overstuffed book bag, and I’ll recover several dozen pieces of flatware and food storage containers that took up residency in her locker all year. They will be wrapped in dirty gym clothes, I’m sure.

I hope that all of us have a slow, peaceful, and laughter-filled summer that inspires the recovery of other lost things–especially the luxury of time for ourselves and our loved ones. I’m looking forward to making more memories with my family, soaking up some learning, and having a bit more time here to connect! See you tomorrow!

 

 

 

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